Daher will be presenting its first-ever thermoplastic composite wing rib at Paris Air Show. The aim of the new product is to offer aircraft manufacturers lightweight solutions that are alternative, or complementary, to metallic and more traditional thermoset composite parts.
The thermoplastic composite rib, to be displayed on Daher's exhibit stand at this month's Paris Air Show, is sized for a business jet and will be incorporated in a test wing box constructed during 2018 as part of the Composite Aircraft of the Future platform led by the French Civil Aviation Research Council (CORAC).
In addition to their lighter weight, parts made from thermoplastic composites are more resilient and provide recycling potential not possible with other materials.
Curing thermoplastic matrices requires the application of heat and pressure in very short cycles, which is aligned with the faster production times sought by the aerospace industry today.
The curing process also is reversible, meaning that thermoplastic parts can be shaped for one purpose then reheated and reshaped for another. This unlocks possibilities in terms of welding that reduces the number of fasteners required in the build-up of airframe components, as well as for repairs. These factors will make aircraft lighter and reduce fuel consumption, while the weight and cost savings will allow aircraft manufacturers to improve aircraft performance and boost profitability.
"The ability to make structures out of thermoplastic composites underscores Daher's trailblazing technological expertise and its capabilities in research," explained Dominique Bailly, Daher's Director of Research and Technology at Daher. "The new thermoplastic composite rib demonstrates that we can make parts 35 percent lighter than their metal equivalents for the same cost. Our goal is to develop alternative ranges that will allow us to make even lighter and more cost-effective structures to meet the needs of aircraft manufacturers in terms of profitability and productivity."